Kinder Institute: The Development of American Electoral Democracy, 1789-1824

Election Day 1815 by John Lewis Krimmel

Kinder Institute: “Middle Atlantic Congressional Elections and the Development of American Electoral Democracy, 1789-1824 “


On October 11, 2019, JMC fellow Jay Dow will lecture at the Kinder Institute at the University of Missouri, a JMC partner program, on the development of American electoral democracy during the Early Republic era. The homecoming colloquium will explore elections to the U.S. House of Representatives in the nation’s early years in order to trace the development of the nascent political parties of the middle Atlantic region.

This talk explores the emergence of “routinized” elections in the early United States. In this context, “routinized” means the establishment of elections as the primary means by which ordinary citizens convey their political goals, aspirations, and preferences to governing elites and hold these officials accountable for their actions in office. Professor Dow uses constituency-level election returns from middle Atlantic region elections to the United States House of Representatives to inform questions of party development, popular participation in politics, and citizen response to political events. These questions are arguably best illuminated by legislative elections because the assembly is the central organ of republican government, and because for most citizens the legislative constituency was their primary point of contact with the national government.

Friday, October 11, 2019 • 3:30 PM
Jesse Hall, Room 410 • University of Missouri

Free and open to the public

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Jay Dow photoJay Dow is a Professor of American Politics at the University of Missouri. His research centers on voting and elections and he is currently most interested in the development of election methods and processes. This is reflected in his Electing the House: The Adoption and Performance of the U.S. Single-Member District Electoral System (University Press of Kansas, 2017).

Professor Dow is a JMC fellow.

Learn more about Jay Dow >>



The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri is an interdisciplinary, signature academic center on the Columbia campus, jointly operated by faculty from the Political Science and History Departments, in cooperation with other scholars across campus. It is dedicated to excellence in research, teaching, and community engagement on the subjects of American political thought, history, and institutions, with a particular emphasis on the ideas and events of the American Founding and their continued global impact and relevance today. It was created in 2015 by a generous gift from the Kinder Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation started by Rich and Nancy Kinder of Houston, Texas.

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